EI EVALUATION - What to Expect

Updated on September 30, 2012
F.B. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
18 answers

Mamas & Papas -

Spoke with DS's ped about his language use, or lack thereof. She recommended we have him evaluated for early intervention. He'll be two in October, and uses less than a dozen "words", doesn't say yes, no, or mama, or daddy, and doesn't use any word combinations. He points and grunts, and seems to understand most of what we are saying (although he doesn't always mind what we say). Also, ours is a bilingual home.

Can any of you who have been down this path give me a sense of what the evaluation might consist of, and what speech therapy itself is like? I understand that if therapy is recommended, we have the right to refuse it. Is there good reason to refuse?

Thanks in advance.
F. B.

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answers from New York on

Get her evaluated. If you wait until she is three, you are financially responsible. Birth to three school district picks up cost. If she does not need it great, but if she does, you have given her a leg up. I would never refuse extra help.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I have no experience with EI, but just wanted to say 2 things:
- When learning 2 languages both are often delayed. The delay is temporary.
- My brother's youngest child did not learn to talk until later since his 2 older siblings would jump to do his bidding if he just pointed. His speech and intelligence are just fine (he is 17).


2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Cleveland on

my daughter was elvaluated with ohios EI last june and they are GREAT, they came to our house and she pulled things out and asked questions and interacted with her to see what she would understand where her motorskills were and to see if she needed to be recommened to their speech therapy and they sent out someone specialized in speech to evaluate her and then after that they had us apply for a few things to help with the cost of speech therapy and got us set up with a GREAT speech therapist. we applied for our state medicaide and got approved for it and we only have it because of the cost of speech therapy as so high. WE love our therapist our first appointment with the one they had us go to things didnt just flow my boyfriend and i were not comfortable with her at all and we switched to a different person within the practice and we and our daughter love her. like your son our daughter could UNDERSTAND a lot but wasnt talking she was making sounds pointing grunting and at 2 and 4 months she had the vocab of a 1 yr old. now after a yr in speech she is 2 months AHEAD of where she should be but isnt articulating like she should be

ETA i would never refuse speech therapy, i needed it, as well when i was little. her dad didnt want to do it but seeing how much improvment there has been he is happy we did it. even if you go for 8 weeks to therapy you will see a difference.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My step dtr is MOMR and has occupational, speech and music therapy. I don't know why if its recommended that you would refuse it? I don't really have any advice about the eval since my SD has been getting it for years. But make sure you CONSTANTLY do the tings the therapist says. Like SD only gets about 45 min per week, not much, so we are on her CONSTANTLY to do what she should do and it makes a huge difference. I mean, you start to feel sort of like the speech police, every time they open their mouth to say something, you are correcting them, but that is how they learn. Anyway, I hope you figure out whats going on. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Your son sounds like mine at that age but I am still waiting it out (he is almost 3 now) because kids who are bilingual tend to be slower, in my experiance, to talk cause they have to figure out which lanuage to use. (My son's vocabulary is just now expanding) Work with him, talk to him constently, when he grunts say the name of the object and have faith, no matter what you chose he will be awesome

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

They come in where he is and play with him. They do blocks, cubes, and some other stuff he should be familiar with. During this time they are doing their eval. Once they are finished they let you know where he is and what they recommend.

Easy to do and not too stressful. The hard part is letting them do all the work and not trying to intervene.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I'm sure he is fine but they will most definitely recommend therapy. If he is even SLIGHTLY behind, they will recommend it. In fact they have to be ahead of their peers before they won't. But in all honesty, if it makes YOU feel better then go for it. Otherwise, it probably won't make any difference in the long run. I have seen many children who's parents did not do speech therapy for one reason or another. Their children learned to talk just as well as the kids who went through hours and hours of therapy. It make parents feel proactive, but in all honesty, VERY few children actually need it. (When they do it is almost always because there are other developmental/learning challenges going on.) You'll never convince parents that went through therapy of this because, of course, they saw improvements. What they may not realize is that they would have seen those exact same improvements at home if they were engaged with the child and working on helping them talk - it's really not rocket science. I had a retired speech therapist tell me this about my daughter, who was very intelligent, but a late talker. EVERYONE said she should have therapy, but this dear lady told me her experience and since that was the only thing she wasn't doing developmentally on schedule, she was fine. I ignored the "experts", continued playing, talking, and reading with her at home and eventually she was talking as good as her peers - even better. But please continue to be bilingual with him. Yes, it will slow down his language development for a little while, but eventually he will soar ahead and will have you to thank for giving him the gift of a second language.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

every kid i knew who was bilingual didnt start talking until 2 1/2 or 3.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Our 5th child didn't talk but a few words until he was 3 or 3.5. He would grunt and point. If we didn't get what it was he wanted he would scream and cry.

We finally told him that if he would say the words we weren't going to get it for him. After the temper tantrums, he figured we were serious and he began to learn the words for what he wanted and to make sentences.

He graduated high school with a 3.9 average on a 4.0 scale. His vocabulary and speaking was at least as good as any of his peers. By kindergarden he spoke as well as any of the other kids in his class.

It takes time and patience and not putting up with temper tantrums.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It may be the fact that your household is bilingual that is causing the delay because he may be getting confused between the two languages.

Also, boys do tend to be a little lazier than girls.

My nephew didn't talk until he was over 3 years old. Like your son, he pointed and grunted. It wasn't until my sister moved in with my mom and my mom insisted that my nephew talk, that he started to talk. Basically my mom just would not pay any attention to his pointing and grunting no matter how much my nephew cried. He HAD to talk or he was never going to get anything!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I would never refuse the therapy.

Ihad my son evaluated at 3. he had mild articulation problesms. but they said he was still developing normally and to wait 6 months. we went back at 3 1/2 and he qualified for speech therapy.

so we went to speech therapy for about 8 weeks 1 time a week.. he made so mcuh progress.

he was discharged from speech therapy have mastered the 2 sounds that he was working on. the speech therapy and the eval are play based.. they show toys and pictures to thekids.. ask questions.. listen to him talke.. no big deal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son only said about 3 words, didn't even babble. I called Early Intervention when he was around 20 mos. old. Therapists came to the house and evaluated him (just played with him and took notes). I advise getting a Medical Diagnostic at a hospital as well. It's also an Evaluation but with experienced doctors. Early Intervention will set it up. Don't wait because it's only to age 3, then you're on your own. I am so happy I followed my gut feeling that something wasn't the way it should be and called. My son was diagnosed with mild developmental delays and speech delay. He was receiving services for a year (Speech, Occupational and Developmental Therapies), on a weekly basis. Everyone told me boys are slow talkers and just to wait, I'm glad I didn't listen to them because my son got the help he needed to start talking and communicating. In my house we're also bilingual. The Speech Therapist told me to speak one language because it'll confuse him, I wish I hadn't. Now that he's older he's having a hard time using another language. Kids are like sponges the earlier the better.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Mom, SOME children can learn to talk by the discipline implemented by 8kidsdad. But his experience is unusual. Most kids at that child's age have a problem that needs intervention. Please don't look at his unusual circumstance and take it as gospel, because it isn't.

At 24 months, the fact that your son has less than a dozen words is something to worry about. The very best thing you can do is ask for the paperwork in advance (they will need you to fill out forms) and sit down and do your best in filling them out. They help the therapist.

Ask if this eval will be a team approach. It is good if it is, and I hope that it lasts for several hours.

Make sure it is early in the morning, or right after a nap. (Early morning is better.) Make sure he has eaten a full breakfast.

There is NO good reason to refuse therapy. Why would you? I promise you that his frustration level at not being able to effectively communicate with you as he gets older will cause a lot of problems. The sooner you start to work on this, the easier it will be to help him and the more he will be ready for school.

School is hard enough without coming in with a speech problem, Mom. Yes, they can pull him out for speech therapy, but if he has a problem with expressive language as well (and they will test for this), then it will affect his academics.

I went through this, Mom. If I listened to people who said the things 8kidsdad said, my son would have been in real trouble. In our case, we found out that he had a structural abnomality from before birth that we were unaware of. (Submucous cleft palate.) The likelihood of that being something your son has is low. However, there are other problems that children have, and they find these problems while working on the actual speech and are able to make great strides before they get to kindergarten. The whole POINT in having early intervention is to be able to help kids whose speech and language would be so adversely affected by waiting until they start school, that they end up behind for years, or with permanent speech issues.

So, please avail yourself of every opportunity to get him help. Hopefully, unlike my son who needed 7 plus years of therapy, your son will only need a short amount to jump start his speech.

Good luck,


answers from Milwaukee on

My son did not start talking till 3.5. Once he decided he would he was fine. I have also heard that kids growing up bilingual talk much later. Ours is not a bilingual home.

I really wonder about using those (birth to 3 type) speech services at such a young age. I mean someone is paying for them. I would wait till he is older and see if there is a developmental problem. If he understands you fine, then he most likely is just a late talker.



answers from New York on

Don't worry. The evaluation will look like a lot of fun and games but it will tell the evaluator a lot. Being a bilingual home your son's brain is taking in all the usual learning stuff PLUS 2 languages. His littlw brain may be just taking so much in that what comes out is not much. (my daughter was like that) Then speech therapy will be more "play" The therapist will do stuff with your son that he likes to do and tell him words, ask him to repeat words and show him how to move his mouth to form those words. Remember that you are your childs best advicate and if you see something that isn't working say something. A friend had a therapist for her daughter and they did not work well together. She got a different therapist and it is going great. My daughter had a great time with therapy and was upset when it ended. It will be good. Don't refuse therapy if it is suggested.It will be a good thing for your son and if he doesn't get the help now it could cause behavior problems from the frustration and school problems later go.



answers from New York on

Just an FYI, if it wasn't mentioned before, if birth to three comes out for an evaluation, and your little guy doesn't outright fail "enough" but you know he needs services, push for the services, advocate for your kid, and they will help you out. I was adamant my son needed help at18 months with speech and it was a good move. 9 months later, he is putting two words together and is probably only a few months behind now. He had barely any words at all when we started this journey, and he probably won't qualify for services when he turns three, which, oddly, makes me nervous! Good luck.



answers from Seattle on

There is good reason to refuse if you cannot find a therapist that you can work with, especially a therapist who is not versed in working with bilingual children.
Vocabulary acquisition and speech often seems delayed in bilingual kids but many experts argue that this is caused by a bias in testing rather than a true delay.
Speech therapists that are not versed in working with bilingual kids often try to discourage parents from using the second language with their child or try to remedy "symptoms" that are considered normal parts of bilingual language acquisition - I would strongly encourage you to find a therapist that is supportive of bilingualism.

My DD is bilingual and I remember worrying about her and having a feeling that she was lagging behind peers at around age 2 - however she is a little chatterbox now and I often wish she would shut up! (Bad me, but seriously she talks non-stop).

So while I am in favor of early intervention, I am also in favor of taking the results of the eval with a grain of salt...especially if it turns out to be borderline.
Good luck.



answers from New York on

I cannot say enough GOOD things about EI. For us, we live in NJ, two people came into our home. One sat and 'played' with our child and the other one asked us questions and wrote notes. That lasted for about 20-30mins. Then they compiled things and spoke with us at the kitchen table. They went over what the normal range for a child her age was in different areas, for example receptive and responsive language. Then they told us if our child qualified or not for the program. Then you have to have another meeting about your finances, because at least in NJ the cost of EI is based on income. Depending on how much the family income is depends on how much you pay..... All of it or nothing. Then the therapist calls you and you set up a day and time that works for your family and the therapist.
Our son qualified for both a DI (developmental instructor), and a speech pathologist. The DI came once a week, and the speech pathologist came twice a month. They spend about an hour in your home. 45 mins with the child and the last 15mins going over things with you. They give you 'homework' to help you help your child. Again, I only have POSITIVE things to say.

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